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Sunday, February 27, 2011, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Apple designer Jony Ive rumored to be considering move back to UK

Apple's lead designer Jony Ive is said to be on the cusp of cashing in some $30 million in stock options, and eyeing a move back to his home country of the U.K.

According to the Times of London (behind a paywall, via TUAW), Ive, the senior vice president of industrial design at Apple, was given a "golden handcuffs" option grant in 2008. Since then, the amount has grown so much that Ive's profits could amount to $30 million in U.S. dollars.

In all, Ive is said to be worth about $128 million, and he owns a house in Somerset, U.K., reportedly worth about $4 million. It's the distance from his home to Apple's Cupertino, Calif., campus that's said to have caused him and Apple's board to be "at loggerheads."

The report said that Ive and his wife Heather are considering a move back to England with their twin sons for their education. But an anonymous friend of the family reportedly said that Apple would not be able to keep his current position with the company if he leaves its California headquarters.

Ive is Apple's lead designer and often heralded as an important component of the company's success, crafting icon products like the iPod, iphone and iPad. Last July, Fortune magazine named Ive the smartest designer in the technology industry.

An Apple spokesperson told the Times that the company would have no comment on the claimed $30 million option grant. Ive's alleged interest in moving back to England was called "speculation."

Questions of Ive's future with Apple come just over a month after the company's chief executive, Steve Jobs, announced he would take a leave of absence for health reasons. Though he has not participated in his day-to-day duties at Apple, leaving them to Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, he did appear at a meeting of Silicon Valley luminaries with President Obama. He turned 56 last Thursday.